Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed both of the legislature’s deficit bills yesterday, calling them “feeble” attempts to solve the state’s budget shortfall. She called instead for lawmakers to grant her the authority to make additional cuts to vital services, between 10% and 15% of any appropriation if the deficit is between 3% and 5%, while at the same time refusing to agree to any new revenue generation.
Giving the governor more power to make harmful cuts to public services when people are struggling in a down economy would be unconscionable.
The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) has repeatedly offered to collaborate with the governor to engage public service workers who have specific insights on ways to increase state government’s efficiency. These “front line workers” have years of experience in their agencies and have been ready to provide the administration with clear programmatic ideas on how the state can be more effective.
Governor Rell’s inadequate attempts to achieve efficiencies have proved fruitless. Her Contracting Standards Board, whose mission is to improve state contracting practices, has not met once in 2009. In addition, her administration’s outsourcing of services from Birth to Three’s Early Connections is costing the state millions rather than saving needed funds.
It is vital that the governor and the legislature address the structural change needed to fix Connecticut’s fiscal crisis. The governor’s proposed band-aid not only gives her unusual powers over the budgetary process, it won’t solve the problem. Cutting all appropriations won’t balance the budget. Governor Rell is staunchly protecting multi-million dollar estates from even one dollar in taxes while she cuts programs that provide diapers for struggling families and the state’s economy spirals downward.
It is time that all the parties come together to provide real solutions, real revenue generation and a clear future for Connecticut’s economic recovery.
The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) includes thirteen unions representing 50,000 Connecticut State Employees united to address issues of common concern. To learn more about the coalition’s campaign for a fair budget and a livable state with great public services visit www.InThisTogetherCT.org.
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